Destination NSW Announces 3-year Flagship Funding for Mullum Music Festival13.04.2018
Mullum Music Festival, the annual boutique music festival that takes place in the small NSW North Coast town of Mullumbimby, has been recognized for its cultural and economic significance by being awarded Flagship 3-year Funding by Destination NSW to help build the Festival’s reach.
The Hon. Adam Marshall MP (Minister for Tourism and Major Events) and The Hon Ben Franklin (Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW) made the welcome announcement on Friday morning at Mullumbimby’s Rock’n’Roll Cafe and enjoyed a performance by local musician Merryn Jeann.
Now in its eleventh year Mullum Music Festival has proved that small isn’t just beautiful, it’s also sustainable. For 4 days in November the family-friendly, affordable event takes place in more than 14 different existing venues in the hinterland village of Mullumbimby, 15 minutes from Byron Bay. The festival enlivens the town’s halls, pubs, clubs and streets with a diverse program that includes performances by more than 80 international, national and local musicians; a Youth Mentorship Program where established artists on the bill mentor young up-and-coming musicians; a sustainability focused program of workshops and talks; free street theatre and circus performances catering for families; a national songwriting competition where the winner gets to perform at the festival; and an annual New Orleans style street parade through the main avenue of the town led by local and visiting musicians.
“Mullumbimby is a small regional town and with a diverse community. The benefits of the festival taking place in the town flow on to local artists, local shops, and also to the bigger cultural picture of Mullumbimby as a unique regional town and counter culture hub,” said Festival Director Glenn Wright.
“Mullum Music Festival has become an annual pilgrimage for music lovers from all over Australia, as well as overseas,” said Mr Wright.
“What is unique about the Mullum Music Festival is that it embraces the whole Mullumbimby community. World class artists can perform in already existing exceptional venues in town,” said Mr Franklin.
“This boutique Festival not only celebrates music but it also showcases the beautiful Mullumbimby community.” said Mr Franklin.
Mullum Music Festival’s whole-town event model has proved so successful that five years ago Glenn Wright and the community of Bellingen on NSW Mid North Coast created a smaller sister festival in Bellingen, Bello Winter Music, that now sells out every year. Mullum Music Festival also partners with the Festival of Small Halls that tours musicians to community halls throughout regional Australia.
Mullum Music Festival received the Byron Shire Council’s Australia Day award for Community Event of the Year in January 2018 and an official acknowledgement in NSW State Government by Hon Ben Franklin MLC that coincided with the festival’s 10 years celebration in 2017. In a decade that saw many of the bigger festivals pull up stumps it was a credit to the organizers of Mullum Music Festival that their event established a unique and well-regarded brand in the music market.
Mullum’s 10th year celebration last year was a sell-out, with the event line-up including Jon Cleary & The Monster Gentlemen from New Orleans, Frazey Ford from Canada, Marlon Williams from NZ, and Wallis Bird from Ireland. National artists such as Harry James Angus from The Cat Empire debuted his new band, Mama Kin, Husky and William Crighton also wowed audiences, with over 80 artists and over 20 local acts from the region and 5 lucky young musicians who stood in the spotlight as part of the Youth Mentorship Program which is now in its 8th year.
According to Glenn Wright, the Festival Director “Mullum Music Festival’s biggest achievement over the last 10 years has been the discovery and support of artists of the future, the emerging acts. In 2016 Mullum Music Festival was one of the first festivals to program Tash Sultana as a headliner, and in 2017 Mullum championed The Teskey Brothers. These acts are now playing on some of the biggest stages and biggest festivals nationally and internationally. There have also been incredible success stories from our Youth Mentorship Program – Merryn Jeann, Tora, The Parcels amongst them. We also continue to foster local talent by dedicating one-third of the program to local musicians.”
As Harry James Angus of The Cat Empire says “I love Mullum Music Festival’s parades, its intimacy, its good taste and mad crowds. Why is it that so many artists that I first discovered on its stages have gone on to become superstars? How do they predict the future so consistently?”
The egalitarian, community atmosphere of Mullum makes it a favourite festival for musicians to play.
“Mullum is one of those extremely rare gems that manages to successfully tread the line between feeling like a community-based, grass-roots style event and being a professionally run festival that boasts top-shelf line-ups every year. And it’s due to an incredibly savvy and hardworking core team and a wider family who are all dedicated to providing the community with some of the best music the world has to offer in an amazing environment. It’s always so fun to play Mullum as a musician,” said musician Liz Stringer.
“The community of Mullumbimby embraces the festival and is in turn an integral part of it, the line between the imported participants and the locals is a very blurred one. And it’s this sensitivity to the community as well as a commitment to the unique aesthetic of Mullum that has seen it stay at the perfect size, just big enough to attract world class acts but small enough to be utterly intimate and accessible. I can’t wait to get back!” said musician Suzannah Espie.
It’s true that from little things big things grow. Long before the #MeToo campaign and the current focus on gender equity in the Australian music industry, Mullum Music Festival has always championed gender parity as a crucial part of its annual line-ups, with the 2017bill having 50/50 gender representation on the bill.
The line-up for the 2018 Mullum Music Festival (15 – 18 November) will be announced in July. Early Bird tickets are now on sale at www.mullummusicfestival.com